At Common Hope, affiliation is just the beginning of a student’s road to graduation and the partnership with their whole family. Affiliation can be compared to an application process for being admitted into college. The process ensures that fixed criteria are met and situations, where families that may need support, are identified.
Over the next weeks, 259 families will be welcomed into Common Hope’s program. This year, a family’s affiliation process will be conducted through a personalized orientation day. Families are welcomed to the Antigua site, meet with the affiliation staff, then walk down the Pathway of Dreams where they can see the graduates who came before them, all of whom had dreams for their futures. Each student is asked, “what is your dream?” Families then meet with a social worker and visit various stations to be introduced to the staff members who lead each program. These programs include education, health care, housing, sponsorship, and others. The different stations all serve important functions–– 1) helping families become acquainted and comfortable with Common Hope’s programs and 2) helping staff identify families’ specific needs in regards to their health or living situations, like scheduling wellness check-ups at the clinic, for example.
The overarching goal of orientation is to help families learn what opportunities are available through Common Hope and to reinforce the requirements of the partnership.
This year it was more important than ever for new families to feel welcome and supported as many have experienced significant challenges during the last two years.
Typically, it’s uncommon to see fathers present in the affiliation process, but this year was different. Complete, unified families were there to participate in the orientation.
“It is really exciting to welcome families. Each family has their own goals, dreams, challenges, and joys, but they all share a
future vision that includes education. I love to see complete families and how dads are even coming and getting involved,” Alma, Community Liaison, stated.
One of the fathers shared, “I want a better future for my daughters and to have them be established professionals one day.” Many families expressed similar sentiments along with feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to join Common Hope.
When families share the same educational goals as Common Hope, it creates a foundation for a successful partnership. With teamwork and collaboration, graduation can be more than a dream, but a reality.